"Meet the Hallmans!"


A double-yellow kayak awaits its next adventure from atop an old Toyota 4Runner.

In many ways, longtime Brodart Librarians Fern and Richard Hallman share that readiness, embracing each exciting excursion that comes their way. And while it’s easy to guess they also both love books, we thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper. (For the record, you’d be hard-pressed to find either of these avid readers without a library book in hand.)

Originally from Allentown, PA, Fern Hallman attended the University of Miami before spending a year in Chattanooga. Her next stop? Atlanta, where a library school helped turn her into the avid bibliophile whose journey has left an impact on countless lives.

That journey also led her to Richard Hallman, her eventual husband. A little New Year’s Eve magic went a long way for the happy couple. Fern recalls, “We got together on the New Year's Eve where 1979 turned into 1980. After careful consideration, we got married about 10 years later.”

Richard Hallman watched Fern attend library school at Emory in 1980, a move which ultimately convinced him he could follow a similar path. He did so the following year.

Fern started out as a reference librarian and book selector. A few years later, she moved to Collection Management to help buy 1,000 books a day for new branches. She was then enlisted by Brodart to help with the company’s first-ever vendor select project, which focused on many branches of the Chicago Public Library. “At the time, there was not much Internet, and no Bibz. Brodart shipped me giant boxes of paper selection lists and I shipped them back,” Fern says.

Fern has worn many hats throughout her career—how many of us can say we worked for the Olympic Games? “Because I'm still a reference librarian at heart,” she says, “I also did some temporary reference jobs at an information broker, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and in the CNN Library.”

Richard Hallman’s bookish path through life has taken a different course. A 25-year stint as reference librarian at the Atlanta Journal/Constitution equipped him with the tools to transition to the post-Google landscape. Richard started his next career in the librarian gig economy doing freelance reference jobs and learning more about what happens at Brodart.

The Hallmans’ passion for libraries also extends to blogging for Brodart’s “Librarian to Librarian.” It’s here that the two share their knowledge and unique perspectives with other librarians. Just take a look at their blog posts below—you’ll find everything from overdue fines to hipster trends.

Their knowledge goes beyond what you might expect. The Hallmans are a formidable duo when it comes to “Jeopardy!” Fern says they’d be tough to beat if the show allowed them to appear as a team. “Each of us know many things that the other one doesn’t.”

So what else do they do for fun? “The personal Hallmans were more fun before the pandemic!” Fern and Richard say. Always committed to living life to the fullest, Fern and Richard thrive on physical and mental activities. Richard is an avid cyclist who found time to pedal more than 3,000 miles in 2020. He and Fern also attended many concerts and film festivals last year (most of them virtual).

Even when they’re not out on an excursion, the two are always prepared for one: their ancient Toyota 4Runner always has a double-yellow kayak on the roof. And though their excursions have taken on a different look as of late, new opportunities await. There’s no telling where Fern and Richard’s travels will take them next, and they can’t wait to find out.

Fern Hallman Blog Posts:

Richard Hallman Blog Posts:

Bios from the Blog
Fern Hallman, M.Ln.
Richard Hallman, M.Ln.